It’s put up or shut up time for Boston Red Sox‘ “ace” Jon Lester.
The 2013 season has been a tumultuous one for Lester. It started off so promising, winning his first six decisions and seemingly putting his troublesome 2012 season behind him. Then the regression began and Lester hasn’t been the same pitcher since. He’s had only one game in which he allowed less than three runs, and that was against the San Diego Padres — a team that barely constitutes a MLB lineup.
Well, Lester gets a chance today to show Red Sox fans that he is either a pitcher they can trust to be a stopper, or an unreliable option that falters is big games. The Tampa Bay Rays are streaking right now. They have the best record in baseball since May 8 (45-23). They’ve won every game since the All-Star break and are coming off a two-hit shutout by Matt Moore.
Tuesday’s game at Fenway Park between the Rays and Red Sox is the biggest of the season thus far for both teams. They have been in first place in the AL East for three months now. That will all change if they lose today, and it’s squarely on the shoulders of Lester to keep their place in the standings.
The Rays will start Roberto Hernandez, the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona. This isn’t Matt Moore — Lester is a much better pitcher than Hernandez, whose record sits at 5-10, with a 4.90 ERA.
Is Lester a pitcher the Red Sox can count on in a big game like this? If he is, then the Red Sox can rest easy knowing that he can be trusted with the ball in his hands when it really matters in the playoffs. If he can’t beat Hernandez, then the Red Sox will have to seriously evaluate making a trade for a starter before the trade deadline.
Will the Red Sox win or lose tonight? Feel free to share your thoughts to keep the conversation going.